Soundcast: Underrated albums of 2013 so far

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AFTER a brief blog break – did you miss me? what? no? oh… – I thought it would be nice of me to put forward a quick recap.
And given the time of year, just past the half-way point, Father Time is begging me to throw together a collection of my Albums of the Year to date.
But rather than point out the big hitters that have been released in 2013 – your Kanye Wests, your Daft Punks, your David Bowies et als – I thought it would be nice to give some love to the lesser lights.
So here are my underrated albums of 2013, the collections I’ve loved that you may have overlooked, as a Spotify Soundcast playlist.
Enjoy!

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…And the winner is – Clean George IV cleans up

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AFTER a record number of votes being cast this year – 115 in total – the winner of this year’s Albums of the Year poll is…
(drum roll)
…God Save The Clean, by Clean George IV.
The album pipped frontrunners Fiona Apple, Alt-J, and Grizzly Bear to the gong – no doubt helped by the vote being publicised on Clean George IV’s official Facebook and Twitter!
Also a good sign was the fact the each entry received at least one vote this year.
So congratulations to Clean George IV on a great LP, and thanks to everyone who voted. I’m already looking forward to seeing what 2013 has in store.

Soundcast: Whoops!

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EVERY year I, like most music writers both professional and amateur, bust an absolute gut to compile an Albums of the Year shortlist.
Mine can be found here.
However, with the best will in the world, no one person’s perspective on the past 12 months can be all-encompassing – some of the best music will have been overlooked for one reason or another.
Some will have been really low key or cult like Samuel Jackson Five’s awesome LP, some will have been released too late to make an impression on a list, such as Gallops and Dam Mantle, and some blinders like Kaki King, Torche and THEEsatisfaction will just have been missed!
Sadly, if you compile a list like I do, this is the time of year where everyone else’s lists rub the ones you’ve missed right in your face.
So here’s my Whoops! playlist, of the ones that got away I’ve only heard since I finished my own Albums of the Year.

View: Five future Albums of the Year for 2013

DESPITE the voting to name the Sound Advice Album of the Year for 2012 still being open, I couldn’t help but take a peek into the pipeline and select a few potential Albums of the Year 2013.
Here is what I found in the pipe.
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Thom Yorke (Radiohead) + Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers) + Nigel Godrich (Radiohead) + Joey Waronker (Beck & R.E.M) + Mauro Refosco (David Byrne & Red Hot Chili Peppers) = sum thing good.
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No band has made my Albums of the Year shortlists more than Biffy Clyro. Don’t bet against the Biff doing it again with Opposites.
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Judging by the quality of the first few tracks to be released from Everything Everything’s Arc, be glad you only have to wait until January to hear it.
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Holy Fire by Foals is set to usher in the band’s funkiest, heaviest work to date. Hot stuff.
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A new, full, proper, non-side-project release from Scandanavian electronic duo The Knife? Yes please, Shaking The Habitual.
And don’t forget, there’s still time to dwell in the past and vote for the Album of the Year 2012 below…

Which is the top Album of the Year 2012

Albums of the Year: Wave Picture perfect

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WYMESWOLD band The Wave Pictures’ album Long Black Cars is the last LP to park itself in the Albums of the Year 2012 lot.
The group sees a slightlier rockier sound driving the ramshackle indie pop which fans of the band know and love.
And atop this, as always, sits David Tattershall’s trademark vocals and perceptive, poetic, bathetic wordplay.
It’s the sound of a band deciding not to reinvent it’s wheel, just to run it that little bit faster and smoother than ever before.
If it gets your vote, click on the poll below – and if it doesn’t, let me know in the comments!

Which is the top Album of the Year 2012

Albums of the Year: Taxidermist a cut above

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NOSTALGIA 77 normally brews up a heady mixture of hip hop breaks and funk, but alongside pianist Matthew Bourne – who I assume is The Monster – The Taxidermist sees the collective led by Ben Lamdin stitching together an altogether jazzier creation.
In addition, there’s his usual fare here too, plus sultry sax, a bit of Latin and Afrobeat tacked on, all sorts of strange influences, to create an odd animal.
It’s eclectic, and an exploration every time you listen.
If it gets your vote, click on the poll below – and if it doesn’t, let me know in the comments!

Which is the top Album of the Year 2012

Albums of the Year: I like I Like Trains

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2012 was the year that wallowing miseries I Like Trains embraced the digital age, and to stunning effect.
The Leeds group and their trademark plodding depressed post-rock was transposed from guitars to synth and computers on The Shallows, as was the subject matter, moving from the likes of doomed historical figures (Elegies To Lessons Learnt) and impending apocalypse (He Who Saw The Deep) to the effect the computer age is having on human culture.
As you can imagine, it’s not been great.
But the great news is, as our society increasingly breaks down into some dystopian matrix, we do now have an LP which is in equal parts cerebral and evocative to soundtrack it.
Hooray.
If it gets your vote, click on the poll below – and if it doesn’t, let me know in the comments!

Which is the top Album of the Year 2012